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UPDATE: International fact finding mission on mining and water in El Salvador

I’m in El Salvador now participating in an international fact-finding mission on mining and water. This mission includes 45 international delegates from 12 different countries and 22 organizations. Today, we kicked off a conference in San Salvador with a press conference. 25-30 journalists were there. I spoke about our solidarity for the struggle to protect water in El Salvador and the fact that the accomplishments of social movements here are a model for the world. I said our fight for water connects us all and that we are all ultimately affected communities. We are looking to El Salvador to lead the way for all of us by becoming the first in the world to ban mining.Jen Moore from MiningWatch Canada and Manuel Perez Rocha from the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies also spoke, as did members of the delegation from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who raised how important this event is for the region. Also at the forefront of this conference is the struggle for the recognition of the right to water being debated in congress at the moment where right-wing parties are pulling all stops to block it. Angel Ibarra from the Water Forum (a Red Vida member) spoke passionately about it this morning. This afternoon, Manuel, Vidalina Morales – an inspiring activist who has been leading the struggle against Pacific Rim and who recently came to Canada to raise public awareness about the impacts of mining on her country – and I will be speaking at a workshop on strategies for an international campaign against Pacific Rim. And this evening I will leave on a field trip with a smaller delegation to speak with mining impacted communities, including Cabanas where Pacific Rim is pushing to open a mine and on Sunday to the Cerro Blanco mine in Guatemala. For more, please see: May 2013 International Fact Finding Mission International mission to investigate high-stakes mining conflict in El Salvador NEWS: Pacific Rim files $315 million claim against El Salvador over gold mine Goldcorp’s Cerro Blanco mine in Guatemala threatens the Lempa River in El Salvador